Is some hard rain coming on the upfront parade? Maybe just a drizzle.
Just last week, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav pointed out at a media conference that the “advertising market” is facing a tough challenge with traditional national and local TV.
Specifically, he says “the pricing of the marketplace is imperfect.” This may partly be attributable, he says, to consumers seeking too many products.
He added: “We are all building on individual products -- all of that is inclement weather.” So is it time to hunker down? To board things up and make sure the generator is up to par?
On a somewhat hopeful note, Zaslav added: “Sequentially we're seeing some real improvement -- but it's not good."
Rita Ferro, president of advertising sales and partnerships of Disney Advertising, was more upbeat -- looking at the bright side with regard to premium SVOD platforms and their newly launched ad-supported tiers, at Disney+ for example.
“There's more demand than we've been able to take candidly. But we're seeing growth in that every single day... Supply is growing week over week.”
Yeah, but are we just robbing Peter to save Paul or maybe Paula to save Paulette? Insert your favorite idiom here.
Now we don’t believe the nagging association that TV advertising marketers will abandon linear TV any time soon. Listening to key analysts it is still about finding ways to extend reach amid declining live, linear TV viewing.
But with regard to Zaslav's claim that pricing is “imperfect," he has alluded in the recent past to seemingly unfair price differences between national TV broadcast and cable networks -- long a major sticking point for those big TV-network media companies that have both.
With softening in the U.S. ad economy -- even while there is growth with streaming and free-ad supported CTV platforms -- the net-net is that TV media companies are seeking to at least shoot for par in this upfront period.
Did we almost forget to even mention high-profile measurement and currency issues? Or the writers' strike? Well, there you go.
Upfront forecast? Cloudy with a chance of high winds, and low expectations.